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American Humane Certified™ Producer Spotlight: Butterball

American Humane was founded in 1877 on the belief that all animals – those in our homes, those in service to our country, and those on our farms and ranches – deserve humane treatment.

In fact, we’ve been working for more than 141 years to improve the welfare of farm animals and created the country’s first largest, and most trusted farm animal welfare program in the country – the American Humane Certified™ program.

To help consumers know which producers have committed to demonstrably good welfare and shine a spotlight on those who put food on our tables while raising animals right, American Humane regularly features our American Humane Certified producers and their enlightened commitment to the welfare of animals in agriculture.

This week, we are profiling Butterball:

Tell us a little bit about Butterball and its history

Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S., with an extensive network of over 600 independent family farmers. For more than 60 years, the company has provided foodservice and retail products to customers and consumers around the world. As an industry leader in quality, food safety and animal well-being, we employ numerous processes to ensure the health of flocks and implement recognized prevention measures to exceed food safety standards.

From Thanksgiving dinner to the perfect sandwich to a healthier breakfast choice — people love turkey. We love turkey, too.

Why does Butterball believe animal welfare is important?

Animal care and well-being is central to who Butterball is as a company, and we are committed to maintaining the health and well-being of our turkeys. Simply put, what’s good for our turkeys is good for our business. In fact, Butterball continues to lead the turkey industry in animal care and well-being standards, and we’re engaged in ongoing efforts that include:

  • A stringent, zero-tolerance policy against any form of animal mistreatment.
  • An industry-leading Animal Care and Well-Being Advisory Council comprised of leading specialists in animal husbandry and care
  • Voluntarily seeking and maintaining American Humane Certified™ status via regular audits, which are periodically unannounced.
  • Video auditing to ensure the best care and handling of our turkeys are carried out at all times.
  • Animal care and well-being hotline for our associates and contract workers to report mistreatment or suspected mistreatment anonymously.

Some companies are self-reporting welfare outcomes. Why did you decide it was important to work with an independent third party?

It’s easy for a company to say they are doing something and to promote it in a way that makes it seem like it’s a priority, but it’s entirely different for a company to commit to something and invite a third party in to review and validate that commitment. We strongly believe that third-party audits are important and that criteria used for these audits be scientifically based and peer reviewed. Butterball places a priority on the care and treatment of our turkeys, and we feel like partnering with American Humane solidifies our promise.

What about American Humane certification do you value most?

We value American Humane’s research-minded approach to farm animal welfare. The methodology is rooted in scientific research, specific to each species of farm animal, and consistently reviewed by veterinarians and experts, so we feel confident that we stay abreast of the most current technology and best practices for animal care.

How have your customers responded to your earning the American Humane Certified seal and how does it set you apart from other producers in your field?

Our customers and consumers should feel confident about the safety and quality of all Butterball products. Seeing the American Humane seal on our packaging means they can feel confident that we are meeting or exceeding the science-based American Humane standards and we’re so dedicated to high standards of animal care and well-being that we put it on the front of our package. As the only turkey producer to be certified by American Humane, we hope that makes the consumer’s choice easier when they’re in the store.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Butterball is continually committed to remaining an industry leader in animal care and well-being. We committed to achieving companywide American Humane certification—one farm at a time—and we are very proud to have reached our goal, and maintain this very stringent certification.

Partnering with our family farmers, we commit daily to achieving industry-leading results in animal care and well-being. Our high-quality, nutritious products begin with providing the best possible care for our turkeys.

 

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